Confederate Memorial Day: What You Need To Know

Confederate Memorial Day:  What You Need To Know

Over 150 years ago, the state of Alabama took up arms against the United States in order to defend the state’s practice of enslaving black people and forcing them to work to enrich white property owners. Today, the state celebrates its four years of treason in defense of slavery with a statewide holiday.

Under Alabama law, the fourth Monday in April is “Confederate Memorial Day” — and this is actually one of two Confederate-themed holidays celebrated by the state. State law also recognizes the first Monday in January as a celebration of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s birthday. State offices, courts, and licensing offices are all closed on Monday because of the state holiday.

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. – Mark Twains

Nor is Alabama alone in using today to celebrate the Confederacy. Mississippi also celebrates Confederate Memorial Day, although Mississippi state offices will only close “at the discretion of the executive head of the department or agency.” Until recently, Georgia celebrated the same holiday — in 2015, Gov. Nathan Deal (R) renamed Confederate Memorial Day with the generic term “state holiday.”

Confederate Memorial Day: What You Need To Know
Confederate Memorial Day: What You Need To Know

In total, eight states — Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas — still celebrate some sort of Confederate holiday, although the nature of the celebration (and whether state workers get the day off) varies from state to state. Texas’ holiday, which the state celebrated on January 19th, is called “Confederate Heroes Day.” Meanwhile, Virginia has long used its Confederate holiday as a counterbalance to the federal holiday honoring a fallen civil rights leader.

Shortly after federal legislation created a national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Virginia combined that holiday with another celebration honoring Confederate Generals Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. This “Lee-Jackson-King Day” existed until 2000, when it was split into two holidays.

• Here are the number of casualties in each U.S. war:

Civil War: Approximately 620,000 Americans died. The Union lost almost 365,000 troops and the Confederacy about 260,000. More than half of these deaths were caused by disease.

World War I: 116,516 Americans died, more than half from disease.

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. – Joseph Campbell

World War II: 405,399 Americans died.

Korean War: 36,574 Americans died.

Vietnam Conflict: 58,220 Americans died. More than 47,000 Americans were killed in action and nearly 11,000 died of other causes.

Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm: 383 U.S. service members died.

Operation Iraqi Freedom: 4,424 U.S. service members died.

Operation New Dawn: 73 U.S. service members died.

Operation Enduring Freedom: 2,349 U.S. service members died.

Freedom’s Sentinel Casualties – 22 U.S. service members died as of May 2016.

Inherent Resolve Totals – 20 U.S. service members died as of May 2016.

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